Reznick’s Runway Rundown: Best of New York, London, Milan and Paris

This+fashion+month+was+made+significant+not+by+big-name+brands%2C+whose+shows+were+largely+unsurprising%2C+but+by+up-and-coming+designers+changing+the+idea+of+ready-to-wear.+Fascinating+silhouettes%2C+innovative+motifs+and+pieces+dedicated+to+the+passing+of+Queen+Elizabeth+II+stood+out+among+a+sea+of+low-waisted+skirts+and+branded+shirts.

Anna Reznick

This fashion month was made significant not by big-name brands, whose shows were largely unsurprising, but by up-and-coming designers changing the idea of ready-to-wear. Fascinating silhouettes, innovative motifs and pieces dedicated to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II stood out among a sea of low-waisted skirts and branded shirts.

Anna Reznick, Columnist

Name brands like Chanel and Dior may be well-known by the average person, but the reality of fashion is small names and rising brands. Each season, one month in both the fall and the spring, designers present their latest collection to the (very judgemental) fashion world.

When everyone gives their opinions on whether or not asymmetrical cuts are overdone or the necessity of tailoring, there is only one source you can trust: Reznick’s Runway Rundown. 

Best of New York: Dion Lee

Presented on the floor of a Hudson Yards building, one of New York’s cultural hot spots, Dion Lee’s anatomical collection played with myriad textiles and cuts. The exaggerated shoulders and carefully placed cutouts paid tribute to the human form, while a recurring leather leaf played into an earthier theme. Distressed fabric, most noticeable in a slinky cream-colored set, as well as metallic fringe coming off of various cuts of clothing, demonstrated Lee’s mastery of texture. 

In addition, the collection proved the importance of tailoring. Fendi’s creative director Kim Jones’s recent failures to produce his typical quality of tailoring has left the fashion world desperate for skilled fabric manipulation, which is evident in Lee’s collection.

The collection stayed within a simple color palette of green, red, white, blue and black. On the other hand, constant changes in outline and texture prevented the styles from becoming repetitive. Though Dion Lee has arguably fallen into irrelevance, this collection proves the brand has the potential to become a big name in the fashion industry. 

Best of London: Richard Quinn

 

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Quinn’s latest collection deserves recognition simply for the quick turnaround necessary to create a funeral collection dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II. Despite many brands dropping London Fashion Week out of respect for the mourning period, Quinn made the queen his muse. In ten days, Quinn’s team created a special memorial section as part of the collection. The designs featured several staples of Quinn’s brand, such as covered faces and exaggerated silhouettes made from lace, silk, feathers and truly intricate embroidery. 

Quinn, who often makes statements about the fetishization of religion and bondage, disciple, sadism and masochism costumery, took the opportunity to turn in a different direction for looks commemorating theQueen. Some references he attempted, such as allusions to the queen’s relationship with animals and the objectification of royals, were admittedly difficult to spot. However, distinctly royal silhouettes were noticeable in embroidered jackets and intricate hats. 

The second half of the collection, a return to Quinn’s comfort zone of bright colors and chaotic patterns, felt far more familiar. Flowers, both small and large, printed and three-dimensional, were reminiscent of his earlier shows. A new rendition of Quinn’s signature capes added new fabrics and textures to the brand’s identity. One cape was covered in protruding purple flowers and another in blue, seemingly waterproof material. 

While less innovative in comparison to the rest of the looks, the collection closed out with a bridal look, which featured some beautiful lace work. The ability to produce a collection in just ten days while maintaining the time-consuming methods that make Quinn’s clothing so intricate elevated the collection beyond the others presented in London.  

Best of Milan: Diesel

 

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Diesel’s most recent collection seemed like a sequel to last year’s spring-summer collection, which was Creative Director Glenn Martens’ first for the brand, featuring a similar runway and set. Once again, Martens proved his imaginative abilities using denim. Denim pieces were distressed until they developed a fur-like texture on oversized jackets similar to last year. This innovation quickly became an emblem of Martens’ creativity, as well as bleached denim. 

Given Diesel’s origins as a denim label, the dedication to the material was unsurprising and also proved that Martens finds strength in taking a bland motif and making it unique. 

Another continuation from the last collection was the presence of belt skirts with the iconic “D” logo on the buckle. In contrast, the skirts from last season were seen in solid colors and took on a crocodile print and metallic coloration in this collection. Martens’ ability to reference past collections while simultaneously incorporating new elements makes Diesel’s runway a treasure hunt and has developed the brand’s identity. 

The exaggerated bagginess of this year’s collection was continued on the runway, with amplified jackets like trench coats featured. Diversity of fabrics created a distinction between looks despite the similar cut. 

The Diesel logo was also far more prominent this year, especially in the closing look, which featured a partially distressed red maxi skirt with the Diesel logo printed across the front and back. Ultimately, Marten’s has turned a once boring denim brand into one of the most innovative ready-to-wear brands of our time. 

Best of Paris: Balmain

 

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Given fashion’s negative association with climate change, it’s difficult for designers to create collections surrounding themes of ecology without seeming insincere. However, Olivier Rousteing’s use of paper, banana and wicker in the latest Balmain collection suggested genuine action rather than empty words. 

Balmain has always been invested in details and utilizing unconventional materials allowed those intricacies to shine in this collection. Even in monochromatic looks, differentiation in stitching and patterning was evident, such as in stunning brown leather and paper dresses. 

In addition to neutral-toned looks, the collection featured an abundance of clothing with a Renaissance art theme. Most notably featured was a jacket with an image of Michelangelo’s iconic David sculpture printed across it, as well as jackets and dresses adorned with collages of art. 

One stand-alone silk jacket in a bright sky blue added a pleasant disruption to a long sequence of painting-printed clothing. Heavy accessories in wood and gold, coupled with chunky shoes, supported the strong impression of the clothing and added to looks without taking attention away from their unique construction. 

The smooth transition from natural materials to Renaissance art followed by flowing silk looks could have felt jarring, but Rousteing’s usage of neutral tones kept the collection coherent. In addition, he successfully balanced the contrast between man-made and natural motifs. After a few seasons of inconsistent themes, it feels as though Rousteing has rediscovered what Balmain is about.